It’s that most wonderful time of the year again and I am pleased to announce that John and I have a Christmas tree this year. Last year, living in the glorified closet we generously called an “apartment,” we didn’t have room. This year, we will be traveling north for the holiday itself, but I couldn’t bear the idea of only seeing a Christmas tree for two days.
In my family, you see, Christmas starts with the Macy’s parade, which marks the authorization of carols in the house. We eat leftover turkey sandwiches while we’re putting up the decorations. Christmas also happens to not end until, oh, March or so, which is when Dad usually manages to get the lights off the outside of the house. I’m not sure who this bothered more when I was a kid, Mom or our bus driver, but with a childhood tradition like that, I want a tree in the house for at least three weeks.
So we got a tree last week.
Ta da! Actually, the point of this picture was more the air vents. We have forced hot air heating, and after bringing the tree in, we were cold. Nothing like relaxing under a vent to say, “It’s Christmas!” Right?
The getting of the tree was an epic waiting event, at least in my impatient mind. I had thought about wanting to go out Sunday, but by the time we got back from Maine we were just too tired. Monday night I wanted to go in theory, but that day just raked me over the coals and I didn’t have the energy for it.
Tuesday at work was worse in some ways and I came home wishing we could get the tree for a bit of a pick-me-up. It was also pouring rain. I was crushingly disappointed to the point that I almost dragged John out into the rain, but I had to concede to the fact that having to tie a tree to the roof would suck any joy out of the event.
Wednesday was perfect. Clear and freezing cold. And even thought the world here is still a browning green, the night smelled like the possibility of snow.
The first order of business was to pick out our annual ornament. We went to this place called the Christmas Store. It was only a ten-minute drive, but it took us twenty minutes to find the place because the back entrance to the place is far from obvious. The alternative was getting onto Route 1 and driving for several miles to turn ourselves around, however, so we persisted until my keen sense of direction won through. Cue laughtrack, I know, but honestly–I was the one who figured it out.
We were still slightly baffled when we pulled into the parking lot. The Christmas Store, it turns out, is the seasonal extension of a pool and patio place. You have to give them credit, I suppose, for having good New England business sense. If my family’s anything like typical, the Christmas season is longer than the pool season in this part of the country.
The nature of the store did not influence our peculiar choice of ornament. I picked this up as a joke, wondering aloud at the kind of weird stuff people buy for their tree. Then, as we were looking at it, we were reminded of the nativity octopus from Love, Actually, one of our favorite Christmas films. This in turn reminded me of my favorite line from the film:
“There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?”
The tree lot was a perfect little New England stand out at the Methodist church, complete with a local man who used to live in our apartment complex. It was the first time since moving to Norwood, I think, that I’ve actually felt connected to the community in some way. I suppose that’s what Christmas is really all about.